The Gold Rush Day

Grandma Kc wrote this on June 17th, 2014 18 Replies

I’ve said it before but I get to see so much of the fun at Amara’s school by volunteering. One good adventure often leads to another. It all started back in April at Open House and Book Fair. The Book Fair ran all that week for the students and they always have it open during Open House to give the parents a chance to shop, too.

Since the hours are from 5 to 7 PM, the PTA had the brilliant idea of selling food at the Open House so that the teachers could grab a quick bite and so could parents coming straight from work. The theme was Book Fair Fiesta so having tacos sounded perfect. They hired someone to come in with a grill to cook them to order but they needed volunteers to sell the taco plates and drinks. Volunteers were hard to find as parents wanted to go to the classroom and for some of them multiple classrooms to meet with their children’s teachers. I am glad Jenna talked me into helping. I worked with my Grandma friend that I sell fruit pops with for the PTA. That is how I found out about the Gold Rush! She took time to go to her grandson’s classroom who is in Amara’s class. She came back and told me I had to go to the classroom and volunteer to help. OK! I volunteered and so did Jenna and Justin.

Amara’s teacher had done this event for the last 3 years. The class has been studying the Gold Rush and this would be the culmination. They would dress in cowboy attire and the volunteers, that would be us, would handle the rest. The volunteers dressed country style, too. (I love Goodwill!) The students/scholars would be split into groups of 6 or 7 and move to the different activities. Let me tell you about them – it was so fun!

They had a Country Kitchen where two moms helped them to make corn tortillas! They had the mesa prepared in advance, all of the students wore gloves, and they flipped tortillas onto a pancake griddle. I had one of them and it really hit the spot, as I forgot to eat before I left the house.

Jenna and Justin were in charge of the arm wrestling and wheelbarrow races; not the kind you do with a wheelbarrow but the kind with two people. Some of those 4th grade girls are very strong when it comes to arm wrestling but the funniest part was when I saw them wheeling 6’4″ Mr. Justin down the racecourse! There were five students holding his legs up! I wish I had photos but I didn’t take my camera because I knew I wouldn’t have time to take pictures.

My Grandma friend that told me to volunteer helped the students learn to lasso! They had a bale of hay with a hobbyhorse stuck in it for them to aim for.

Another mom was taking their “Wanted” photos. Amara’s teacher had a big cardboard cutout from before that made the students look like they were outlaws. They had fun posing with their fake mustaches.

And what would a Gold Rush Day be if you didn’t pan for gold? One of the Mom’s had filled a small pool with water and sand and then “salted” it with gold! They learned how to pan and had little burlap bags to put their gold nuggets into.

Because they needed that gold to shop at the General Store! Two moms weighed out the gold nuggets and told each student how much money they had to spend. The General Store was set up so cute with kerchiefs and hay decorating the table laden with bowls of candy, pencils, sheriff’s badges, pencil boxes and all sorts of goodies they could purchase!

I had suggested we teach them to square dance or line dance – figured it would burn off some energy and it had never been done before. I went home, did some research, and decided we definitely had to teach them line dancing as square dancing wasn’t going to work. 4th graders don’t want to do anything that involves couples! Since line dancing didn’t come along until 1970 I had to find a way to tie it all together. So before we started dancing, we talked about square dancing, which was more likely the type of dancing the original miners did. We talked about the gold resurgence that has been happening since 2010 and they were shocked that gold is now worth $1300-$1400 an ounce. Line dancing is much more likely the dance that these new miners did so I taught them the Cupid Shuffle. I had found a video on YouTube. Where would I be without YouTube? Since I had them in very small groups, they were easy and fun to teach. Some got into it more than others but I think all of them had fun.

After all of the students had visited all of the stations they were served lunch! Some of the volunteers had gotten different places to donate the food! The students dined on fried chicken, rice, beans, fresh tortillas, and lots of fresh cut fruits. One student said it best,

This isn’t just lunch it is a full meal.

For me the best part was when two of the girls came back after lunch and asked if they could dance some more! I turned the music back on and within minutes, there were 12 – 15 students lined up and dancing! They had to make two rows!

UPDATE: I thought that was the best part until later that evening I got a text from one of the mom’s that her daughter was teaching her little sister and the girl next door my dance.

THAT was the best part!

I am so glad I volunteer and that Amara goes to such a great school!

18 thoughts on “The Gold Rush Day

  1. sarah christian

    What an extraordinary place this school is! I don’t remember anything close to this back in my day. Highly creative and innovative, the school works hard to incorporate the parents as volunteers for events, and you are truly the kind of volunteer they need/have to succeed. Certainly a blueprint for schools throughout the country! So impressive, and how wonderful for precious Amara. Thank you for sharing this wonderful event/experience.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Thank you, Sarah! I do get to have a lot of fun and I think being with those children (and Jenna) really helps to keep my mentally young. I know I got my exercise that day!

      Reply
  2. Launna

    Awe… this is so sweet Kc… I love how you guys pull together in that school and make fun activities happen for the children 😀

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      They are definitely having more fun at school than I did and I really think they learn more this way, too! I can’t wait to see what 5th grade will be like.

      Reply
  3. Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread

    Okay, this school definitely gets A+ for having the best students, teachers, and volunteers. That sounds like a great day that included learning experiences. I remember many years of volunteering at my daughter’s grade school field days but they were all about sports and the jocks win those events every time. I like the variety of events much better where different children can excel. You certainly put your volunteer time to good use. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I agree it is an amazing school with some great teachers – and it is free! It was sure a fun day and I was sure tired when I got home and I can’t wait to do it all again. I can’t wait to see what 5th grade will bring us. I know my Grandma friend and I are on the fruit pops team again next year!

      Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      They were so excited to recite all their gold rush facts, too! I’m with you I think this was a great way to learn.

      Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      It really is a great school and I am so glad that it now goes through 8th grade! I do love volunteering and I do think it helps keep me younger – and more active, too!

      Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I do wish I had pictures of it all as it really was cute! All the lower grades would ew and aw when they went by!

      Reply
  4. Sandy Siegel

    What a fun event! I am so impressed with Amara’s teachers for coming up with so many great ideas, and the parents/grandparents for volunteering to help. This sounds like it was just a blast for the teachers, volunteers, and the kids as well. I know you were a little worried about teaching line dancing, but it sounds like you nailed it!! I bet if you heard about one of the girls teaching other kids the steps, there are probably more doing the same that you don’t know about!! If that’s not inspiring kids in a positive way, I don’t know what is!! Keep up the great job everyone at Santiago Elementary!!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      All of the volunteers got a nice email from the teacher – she really did appreciate all our efforts and the kids had a blast! The only thing that went the tiniest bit wrong was after all my searching to find the right music – insert Kc hates country western music – they couldn’t really hear it. We couldn’t put it over the PA system or make it really loud because there were classes going on but in the end it didn’t even matter! They didn’t care if they could hear the music or not! Certainly a day I am never going to forget!

      Reply
  5. Joyce

    WOW! I have read about some creative learning experiences here but I think this one is my favorite so far! Your first comment from Sarah says exactly what I was thinking. But then I got to the dance part and decided that THAT was the highlight of the event – and I see I wasn’t the only one who felt that way! I’m amazed at how much fun all of you make learning for those kids. What a clever spin on everything from the way those miners ate, earned their living, roped their cattle and had their fun. Awesome!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      It was a fabulous day for everybody! You should see my Fitbit graph for that day. You can see where each group stopped and started. I’m a lucky Grandma!

      Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      It sure is a day I will never forget! I am so glad that I get to be there to enjoy so many of these things – thanks to you. Also glad we are both healthy enough to keep up with her!

      Reply

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